[cc-licenses] Unbundling the GPL
bjorn.terelius at gmail.com
Fri Apr 27 06:09:13 EDT 2007
On 4/27/07, Terry Hancock <hancock at anansispaceworks.com> wrote:
> Björn Terelius wrote:
> >> Far more people would suffer from accidentally using By-SA for software
> >> than would benefit from using NC/ND for it. And if you want a more
> >> nuanced position than 'CC licenses are bad for software' -- well, you
> >> can ask here.
> > Yes, I would like a more nuanced position on using CC for software. That
> > was
> > why I entered this thread in the first place.
> Perhaps I was not clear. I meant to say that you get a nuanced position
> by asking the question here on this mailing list. I remain convinced
> that softening this point on the CC website would be a mistake.
> People would take it to mean more than it does.
> The idea has sufficiently few exceptions that it should not be included
> in a general set of advice about licensing (I'm not arrogant enough to
> claim that no exceptions exist -- almost every rule has exceptions).
> I'd be okay if it is buried in a FAQ somewhere. But the point is that if
> you haven't the patience to read a thorough discussion of the issues,
> then you should just accept the advice against doing it.
> If after taking the time to look at the problem for real, hear the
> objections, and consider your own needs in detail, you decide to ignore
> the advice of experienced people and do it anyway, then that's okay.
> "You have been warned".
There is an entry in the FAQ concerning using CC for software. Though I
agree that Free is often a better choice than closed source, but no-cost.
Just as you pointed out there are exceptions, and I would prefer if freeware
developers used a well known license rather than write their own.
Prominent stuff on the CC website should be targeted at "best practice",
> not every possible exceptional case. The truth is, the detail is there
> in the license text if you want to know what's really going on.
I agree. Suggesting ND or NC for software (or other works for that matter)
should obviously not be done on the front page or anything. I was more
thinking of expanding the FAQ entry on the matter.
> Perhaps it would be possible
> > to say that NC/ND is safe for software, but warn that the program won't
> > qualify as Free Software on the same page? Shouldn't that be an
> > compromise? The FAQ could still recommend GPL and other Free licenses
> > CC BY/SA.
> But it isn't "safe for software". It is "unsafe for software" (which is
> what it says), because of all the reasons we've told you already. If you
> don't want to "play it safe", well, that's your business. But it's
> still just as "unsafe".
According the responses I received earlier (something like 50 posts ago),
people thought that at least ND IS safe for software
The unsafeness falls into two categories:
> 1) Using NC/ND licenses is poor practice because it is a weak
> development model, and you'll gain very little for your trouble.
> (Only moderately unsafe)
This is not a problem with the actual license. You're questioning the
reasons for writing non-Free software in the first place. It may be better
to stay Free in most cases, but as you put it, almost every rule has
2) Using By-SA licensing is deceptively close to GPL, but has serious
> stealth holes in the copyleft.
> (Extremely unsafe!)
Yes, BY SA would have to be rewritten and I can understand that people are
unwilling to do that. That was why I enclosed the sentence in parenthesis.
Using By licensing is almost okay, but using BSD/MIT/X11 licenses is
> better, so why bother?
> The problems wrt to NC and ND are intrinsic, so a rewrite for software
> would solve nothing. An SA rewrite could resolve the problem, but would
> duplicate the work behind the GPL, and would have the unpleasant side
> effect of being incompatible.
One of the reasons why I would like CC BY and/or SA to be applicable to
software is symmetry. It would look "cleaner", and being a math nerd, I
think symmetry is important. :-)
The second reason is that I don't like FSFs policies of Free Software as the
only acceptable form of licensing. I think no-cost is very important, too.
So even if I like the GPL, i'm reluctant to use it because it may give the
impression that I support FSF. But of course there are other similar
A third reason is that I sometimes would like the option of a clear BY
I know that none of these arguments are very convincing, so I repeat; that
was why I enclosed the original sentence in parenthesis.
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